Canterbury coach Gary Stead has every faith their youthful fast bowling attack can fire consistently this summer.
With former Black Cap paceman Hamish Bennett moving to Wellington after 10 seasons with Canterbury and Ryan McCone shifting to Central Districts, Ed Nuttall and Kyle Jamieson will shoulder plenty of responsibility with the new ball.
Canterbury’s 14-player contract list will be announced on Tuesday, with one further name to be added on July 12.
Peter Fulton will return for a 16th full season of domestic cricket for Canterbury this summer.
Fast bowlers Will Williams and Henry Shipley and opening batsman Michael Davidson, who all gained a taste of domestic cricket last summer, have secured spots for the first time.
The other feature of the naming sees four-day skipper Peter Fulton, Canterbury’s all-time first class leader for runs  and matches  returning for a 16th full season.
Opening batsman-left arm spinner Ronnie Hira has gained full-time employment in Auckland, but Stead said he might still be available for the Kings in the Twenty20 competition.
Batsman Henry Nicholls is now on New Zealand Cricket’s central contract list, freeing up a place for Canterbury. Fast bowler Matt Henry and batsman Tom Latham are also on NZC contracts and probably won’t be sighted too much on the domestic scene.
In past seasons, Canterbury have lost experience in their batting stocks, but young players have stepped up and taken their opportunities, with Ken McClure a perfect illustration last summer.
Stead was satisfied with the pace bowling calibre and believed right-arm quicks Williams and Shipley would make an impact when given a chance.
“It’s not a matter of whether they can or not. They’re going to have to. They’re going to have to be thrown in the deep end some what.
“I think with the depth we’ve tried to develop over the last few years, I’m confident they will make that step up.”
Williams played in two four-day matches last season and showed his ability for Canterbury Country, taking 9-38 in an innings during a Hawke Cup challenge against Buller in January.
He was viewed as an option in all three forms having been heavily involved at Canterbury trainings last season.
Stead described 20-year-old Shipley as someone with the batting technique to be a genuine all-rounder.
Davidson had a mixed start to top-level cricket, averaging 24 in six first class matches and just 12 in three one-day innings.
Despite only getting past 50 once, Stead said they liked what they had seen and he was worth investing in.
“I think he’s got a very good temperament. Hopefully, he can put the performances under his belt where he really starts to believe in his own ability.”
He stressed picking up a contract spot did not guarantee a place in the side. That had to be earned through performances on the field and hard work at training.
“I’ve seen a few guys in the past, who have got contracts and they sit back and rest on their laurels. For me it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got one or not.”
Canterbury Cricket have an objective of 90 per cent of their contracted players being developed from under-19 level down, which the contract list had achieved.
Wicketkeeper Cameron Fletcher and Jamieson are the only squad members not to have grown up or been schooled in the region, though Jamieson has played under-19s for Canterbury.
“If we can show a clear career path and playing pathway for guys coming through our system [it’s beneficial]. I think this contracting shows that.”
Stead said “three or four players” were in contention for the final contract with spinner Jeremy Benton and batsman Jack Boyle probably the frontrunners.
No decision has been made yet on who will captain Canterbury in the three formats.
AT A GLANCE:
Canterbury contracted list: Todd Astle, Leo Carter, Michael Davidson, Andrew Ellis, Cameron Fletcher, Peter Fulton, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Johnston, Cole McConchie, Ken McClure, Ed Nuttall, Henry Shipley, Logan van Beek, Will Williams (one to be added).
In: Michael Davidson, Henry Shipley, Will Williams.
Out: Hamish Bennett (Wellington), Ryan McCone (Central Districts), Ronnie Hira.